hikes in Shasta-Trinity National Forest
Discover the beauty of the Shasta-Trinity National Forest on foot—along one of the many trails within the area’s extensive network of hiking routes. Encompassing over 2,210,485 acres of combined forestlands, 6278.0mi of rivers and streams, and five wilderness areas: Castle Crags, Chanchelulla, Mount Shasta, Trinity Alps, and Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel, the outdoor opportunities are abundant. Full of wonderment, a trip to the largest National Forest in California is a staple, attracting thousands of annual adventurers from around the globe.
A landscape characterized by the sky-scraping crests of the Klamath Mountains and the Cascade Range, rolling foothills, subalpine forests, montane meadows, and numerous alpine lakes, the combined National Forest boasts epic hiking possibilities. This wonderful natural sanctuary is relatively undiscovered in Northern California compared to Yosemite and Lake Tahoe. Enjoy the tranquility as you explore the landscape ranging from 1000ft to over 14100ft of elevation, exhibiting the diversity of the area’s native flora and fauna.
Offering family-friendly nature walks and technical summit treks, the Shasta-Trinity National Forest caters to almost all adventurers. Intrepid spirits flock to the trophy and namesake of one of the wilderness areas—Mount Shasta, a potentially active volcano that stands at 15180ft, boasting a challenging backpacking expedition. Families and novice hikers can also enjoy the grandeur of the second-highest peak in the Cascade Range from the Lake Siskiyou Trail or one of the several other subalpine trails. Boasting a trek for outdoor enthusiasts of all skill levels, ages, and preferences, the Shasta-Trinity National Forest is a hiker’s haven awaiting your exploration.
The 12 Greatest Hiking Routes in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest
The topographic diversity and beauty of the Shasta-Trinity National Forest is unparalleled. Whether you are seeking an easy-going adventure to a waterfall or a technical ascent to the summit of a Trinity Alp, this wilderness area delivers. As self-proclaimed adventure experts, we took it upon ourselves to curate a list of the 12 best hiking routes in the combined National Forest; enjoy!
- Burney Falls Loop - The Burney Falls Loop is a family-friendly adventure to a picturesque waterfall flowing over 129ft from the snowmelt of encompassing mountains and through underground springs of porous volcanic rocks. This easy-going hike is a must-add to your itinerary.
- Lake Siskiyou Trail - Indulge in the commanding views of Mount Shasta dominating the skyline along the Lake Siskiyou Trail. This charming lakeside adventure can be enjoyed by hikers of all skill levels and ages.
- McCloud Falls Trail - There is nothing better than a waterfall hike, and the McCloud Falls Trail exceeds all expectations—offering a collection of three picturesque cascades. In the summer months, hikers can cool off in the slow-moving pool along the McCloud River.
- Heart Lake Trail - Explore the high country and marvel in panoramic views of the Klamath Mountains along the Heart Lake Trail. This wonderful adventure climbs up the granite cliffs of Castle Lake before reaching the small, heart-shaped alpine pool.
- Potem Falls Trail - The Potem Falls Trail is a short but scenic trek to a charming cascade in the National Forest. Offering a wonderful swimming hole, intrepid adventurers can swing into the refreshing waters via a rope swing. This hike beckons adventurers seeking an escape from the Californian summer heat.
- Hedge Creek Falls Trail - Another waterfall adventure? Of course! The Hedge Creek Falls Trail is a unique excursion that travels to a charming veil that surges over an overhang. Explore the cave behind the cascades then hike down to the Sacramento River and indulge in views of Mount Shasta.
- Lake Helen Hike - The Lake Helen Hike is a demanding adventure up the southwestern slope of the famous Mount Shasta. Intrepid adventurers can climb halfway up the potentially active volcano to an often bare glacial lake and high camp.
- Pluto’s Cave Trail - Explore a lava tunnel along the skirts of Mount Shasta along Pluto’s Cave Trail. This epic expedition into the cavern is sure to impress with its 50ft tall ceilings and skylights that illuminate the cave.
- Landers Lake Loop - Put your endurance to the test and indulge in the topographic diversity of the area along the Landers Lake Loop. This awesome adventure culminates at a crystalline alpine bounded by the Trinity Alps—boasting a postcard-perfect scene.
- Mount Eddy via Deadfall Lakes Trail - Immerse yourself in the alpine terrain along Mount Eddy via Deadfall Lakes Trail. Explore alpine pools before summiting Mount Eddy, which offers panoramic vistas of the Klamath Mountains and commanding views of Mount Shasta.
- Black Butte Trail - Reserved for experienced hikers, the Black Butte Trail is a demanding adventure that reveals wonderful panoramas of Mount Shasta from the summit. Note the terrain is incredibly rocky, so wear a pair of ankle bracing footwear—you'll thank us later.
- Kangaroo Lake Trail - With a name like that, how could it not be fun? The Kangaroo Lake Trail is a fun family hike along the shoreline of a crystalline lake hemmed by craggy granite bluffs. In the summer months, this is a great place to cool off!
When is the Best Time to Visit the Shasta-Trinity National Forest?
The beauty of the Shasta-Trinity National Forest is that it can be explored year-round. Though open and accessible to adventurers all year, we argue the best time to visit the National Forest is from May through September. The summer months are the warmest and driest, boasting wonderful outdoor opportunities, from hiking and biking to abundant water recreation activities. When exploring the high country in the winter months, it is important to be aware of the possibility of avalanches and winter storms—which have proven extremely dangerous. No matter the season, be sure to check the forecast before exploring!
Other Outdoor Activities in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest
The Shasta-Trinity National Forest is awaiting your exploration. Offering an abundance of hiking routes through the five wilderness areas and two National Forests, this area is undoubtedly a hiker’s haven. Explore the diverse topography on foot for the most immersive experience! Adorned with numerous streams, rivers, and alpine lakes, the National Forest offers wonderful water recreation opportunities. Fishing, swimming, paddle boarding, boating, tubing, and water skiing are all popular activities in the summer months.
In addition to hiking and water recreation, the wilderness area is a popular camping and nature viewing destination. Visitors don’t even have to leave the comforts of their cars—though we encourage you to do so— as there are nationally designated scenic byways within the Shasta-Trinity National Forest! When exploring in the winter months, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, backcountry skiing, and snowmobiling opportunities are plentiful. Though the outdoor pursuits are abundant, the unrivaled scenery and grandeur of the combined National Forest are reason enough to visit.
Frequently Asked Questions About the Shasta-Trinity National Forests
Is Shasta Lake in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest?
Yes, Shasta Lake, which is the largest man-made lake in California, is located within the Shasta-Trinity National Forest.
Are there redwoods in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest?
No, there are no redwoods in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest. Redwoods are common to the coastal region of Northern California, specifically in the Redwoods National and State Parks.
Can you camp in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest?
Yes, there are dispersed backcountry camping and designated camping opportunities in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest.
What state is the Shasta-Trinity National Forest in?
The Shasta-Trinity National Forest is located in Northern California.
Is Mount Shasta active?
Mount Shasta is a potentially active volcano in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest.
Awesome Adventure Tours near the Shasta-Trinity National Forest
Unfortunately, we have yet to curate a specific adventure tour for the Shasta-Trinity National Forest. Keep checking back as we are always adding to our repertoire. Until then, we encourage you to check our California adventure tours. If you have a trip in mind, don’t hesitate to contact us! We can customize an adventure for you—giving you exactly what you want.
Find Other Amazing Hiking Regions in California
- Death Valley
- Inyo National Forest
- Joshua Tree National Park
- North Bay
- Yosemite National Park
- Stanislaus National Forest
- Sierra National Forest
- Redwood National and State Parks
- Point Reyes National Seashore
The best hikes in Shasta-Trinity National Forest
Yes, there are more than 10
Shasta-Trinity National Forest is so beautiful that we can not give you only 10 hikes. So here is a list of bonus hikes in Shasta-Trinity National Forest that you should take a look at as well
Are we missing your favourite hike?
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